Dealing with writing contest disappointment

Last week calls went out to a few dozen special romance writers – finalists in the RITA and Golden Heart contests, put on every year by the Romance Writers of America.

I didn’t get a call.

Broken heart
http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Kiomi

Rejection is always difficult to accept. When a creative project you’ve spent months – or years – working on is rejected, it’s agonizing.

I love the day the RITA and Golden Heart calls go out. For a romance writer, it’s the most exciting day of the year, even more so than the night when the winners are announced. Everyone starts the day full of excitement, and there are massive amounts of congratulations across Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

But as the day goes on, people begin to lose heart. At least, that’s how I feel. I see my category filling up with finalists, and I check my phone for missed calls. I cheer for my friends and for complete strangers, but inside I die a little.

So how do you deal with contest disappointment? Here’s what I do.

1. Remind yourself that the contest isn’t your actual goal.

The Golden Heart is amazing. Thrilling. And it can be really tempting to think it’s the ultimate goal since it’s so much fun. But my goal is to be published. The Golden Heart would be one step on that path, but it’s not the only way to get there. And it’s not my end goal.

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Interview with Jeannie Lin – and giveaway!

Jeannie LinA couple of years ago, Jeannie Lin burst onto the romance scene with her Golden Heart contest entry, set in China during the Tang dynasty. Romance readers had to wait over a year to be able to read Butterfly Swords, but everyone agreed it was well worth the wait—and it certainly revitalized my interest in historicals set in unusual eras.

Welcome to my blog, Jeannie!

1. What drew you to Tang Dynasty China in the first place?

The Tang Dynasty was the Golden Age of imperial China. It was a time when China was truly the center of the world and traders and merchants all over Asia and Central Asia came to the capital of Changan. I felt it was both a time of wealth and elegance, but also a time of danger and intrigue. And on top of that, it was visually inspiring. Great cinematography for a story, you know?

The most important aspect for me was that it was a time when women had more independence. It was a historical period with ideals of meritocracy and empowerment that resonated in modern times.

2. What’s the strangest thing you’ve learned about Chinese history during your research?

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2010: How writing and writing buddies got me through a shit year

My friend Suzanne Johnson wrote a great post at Write in the Shadows about how her writing career developed throughout 2010. For me personally, this year has hit higher highs and lower lows than any I can remember. For months I said I just wanted to get the year over with, but when I read Suzanne’s post and decided to write one of my own, I realized that writing – and my new writer friends – got me through it.

Here’s where I went on my roller coaster ride.

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Save the contemporary

Good news comes in threes! (Well, deaths of famous people come in threes, so it stands to reason – sort of – that good news does, too).

1. I entered my manuscript in RWA’s Golden Heart competition today! Woo hoo for finishing a manuscript!

2. According to Publisher’s Weekly, people want to read funny contemporaries, which is what I write. I first saw the link to this fantastic article posted by Jane at Dear Author, who loves contemporaries so much she’s set up Save the Contemporary. It’s a great place to get recommendations and . . .

3. Free books! They’re having a competition to win goodies from St. Martin’s Press, including Lisa Kleypas’ Smooth Talking Stranger. Oh, I do so hope I win. My local library has only a handful of contemporaries, and I’ve exhausted their supply.

Whoops. Jane at Dear Author just emailed me to say that was a really old contest. Oh well. I guess good things come in twos, and are closely followed by disappointment.